“You’re all right, pardner,” said he. “You’re the d——dest best pilgrim that ever struck this place, an’ I kin lick ary man that says differ’nt. He’s yore horse now, shore.”
“And how do ye do, Ned? God bless ye!” said Battersleigh a moment later, after things had become more tranquil, the horse now falling to cropping at the grass with a meekness of demeanour which suggested innocence or penitence, whichever the observer chose. “I’m glad to see ye; glad as ivver I was in all me life to see a livin’ soul! Why didn’t ye tell ye was coming and not come ridin’ like a murderin’ Cintaur—but ay, boy, ye’re a rider—worthy the ould Forty-siventh—yis, more, I’ll say ye might be a officer in the guards, or in the Rile Irish itself, b’gad, yes, sir!—Curly, ye divvil, what do ye mean by puttin’ me friend on such a brute, him the first day in the land? And, Ned, how are ye goin’ to like it here, me boy?”
Franklin wiped his forehead as he replied to Battersleigh’s running fire of salutations.
“Well, Battersleigh,” he said, “I must say I’ve been pretty busy ever since I got here, and so far as I can tell at this date, I’m much disposed to think this is a strange and rather rapid sort of country you’ve got out here.”
“Best d——n pilgrim ever hit this rodeo!” repeated Curly, with conviction.
“Shut up, Curly, ye divvil!” said Battersleigh. “Come into the house, the both of you. It’s but a poor house, but ye’re welcome.—An’ welcome ye are, too, Ned, me boy, to the New World.”
Franklin’s foot took hold upon the soil of the new land. His soul reached out and laid hold upon the sky, the harsh flowers, the rasping wind. He gave, and he drank in. Thus grew the people of the West.
The effect upon different men of new and crude conditions is as various as the individuals themselves. To the dreamer, the theorist, the man who looks too far forward into the future or too far back into the past, the message of the environment may fall oppressively; whereas to the practical man, content to live in the present and to devise immediate remedies for immediate ills, it may come sweet as a challenge upon reserves of energy. The American frontier subsequent to the civil war was so vast, yet so rapid, in its motive that to the weak or the unready it was merely appalling. The task was that of creating an entire new world. So confronted, some sat down and wept, watching the fabric grow under the hands of others. Some were strong, but knew not how to apply their strength; others were strong but slothful. The man of initiative, of executive, of judgment and resource, was the one who later came to rule. There was no one class, either of rich or of poor, who supplied all these men. The man who had been poor in earlier life might set to work at once in bettering himself